Dinner in a lantern lit street – ahhh – I’m in heaven – where no-one much seems to sit – just watching locals wander in and out of these doors in a wall. Behind them there may be a room; a courtyard – noble or tiny, leafy or not; a long hall or narrow laneway; a place for your bike; a rubble of decayed house parts; an artist’s studio; a spiral staircase; or a grand one like ours leading up to our bedroom. Watching people move in and out of the shadows left by the dimly lit lanterns; in and out of antique shops, clothing places and more types of ..erias than you could imagine; bold dogs, wary cats, bike riders and no cars. A village street backdrop to our reminiscing.

Some hours later and back in the same street. An older man on his way to a bar, a cat and us. Lanterns are still alight providing an imagined cosiness to a cool morning, the sky lights obscured by the grey and white blanket below, a few drops not encouraging enough to let our rain pants out for a walk. Six men in a bar watched as we placed our poles against the entrance wall and removed our packs, their loud exchanges falling silent for a moment as though their morning sanctuary was being violated. I moved to the bar like a gunman under siege in the wild west – until bongiorno cleared the air.

The lake, like an ocean without the huge waves, was a special treat for us, with huge trees making a splendid entrance and large old mansions showing weary signs of previous grandeur, now maybe getting just a glance from the busy tourist. It washed in and out of our walk today as we glimpsed it from up in the hills or laid itself out in full view. As we moved out of a small forest past sheep with their white dog shepherds, noticing 2 shooters with their retrievers ahead of us, we decided to talk so we couldn’t be mistaken for lunch.

The Italian and Spanish couple soon came into view in front as we emerged from our forest track, after a long period of open field paths and gravel roads. A bit weary we sat by a river amongst magnificent old tall trees, the undergrowth manicured for our comfort. A very tall Dutchman approached just as our grapes and nectarine had departed for another world, and we walked and talked together until our destination, once we were satisfied our walking paces were conducive. He was very easy to be with and we talked on many interesting subjects, one he was especially fond of was the difference between managing the mind and managing people.

A beautiful walk to share with another, past a real waterfall then one more, with that special sound of falling water adding a soothing background to those conversations that lessen the strain of steep paths. He left us to stock up at the local supermarket as we climbed to yet another hilltop village, where the clouds were still shutting out the lights, as we looked for a place where we could later tonight also shut the lights out. After combing the village Piazza and laneways we found ours, just outside the old city gates with a balcony the size of a small Piazza overlooking the valley we had just visited.